office365

Office365 best practices for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Introduction

This article summarizes the Citrix best practices for deploying Microsoft Office 365 applications in Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (VAD) environments.

Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus is a bundled software plus subscription-based offering focused on user productivity-based applications. Office 365 ProPlus includes a combination of online-based applications that are accessed from anywhere via a web browser, in addition to the latest traditional, locally installed version of Microsoft Office. Included with Office 365 ProPlus is an online email account that has 50 GB of mail storage and 1 TB of file storage per user licensed for OneDrive for Business.

Office 365 is a great solution for any organization, but due to user, application and business requirements, there is often a requirement for a locally installed version of the Office applications in addition to the online versions. Typically, organizations require the locally installed versions for the following reasons:

  • Require full application functionality that may not be available with the online version
  • Line-of-business applications installed locally have a dependency on locally installed versions of an Office application

These challenges are relevant for most organizations. Historically, Microsoft Office is one of the most common applications delivered via Citrix XenApp, due to its ability to provide the user with the latest version of Office with the best user experience for a wide range of use cases. With Office 365 ProPlus, the value of Citrix XenApp has not changed. To deliver Office 365 to users properly, we provide the following recommendations to enable an optimized user experience while minimizing the potential impact to the underlying infrastructure.

Exchange Online and OneDrive for Business

Citrix provides specific design recommendations for Microsoft Outlook, Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business when deployed on Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop multitenant or single tenant (enterprise) environments and in public clouds, such as Citrix Cloud. The full recommendation report also includes detailed Citrix internal testing data regarding Outlook performance in both Online and Cached  Exchange mode. The report can be downloaded from Citrix at: https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/products-solutions/deployment-guide-office-365-for-xenapp-and-xendesktop.pdf 

Citrix also discusses the various options for Exchange Online by using either the Cached Exchange mode or the Online mode, each with their benefits and limitations: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/08/06/citrix-tips-series-office-365-citrix-latest-deployment-considerations/

Microsoft Teams

Regarding Microsoft Teams in VDI environments, there is specific guidance available from Microsoft: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/teams-for-vdi . The .msi binary is required for setting MS Teams with extra options, such as the following command:

msiexec /i "%temp%\Teams_windows_x64.msi" /QN OPTIONS="noAutoStart=true ALLUSER=1"

Citrix Profiles should be considered in the case when the ALLUSER parameter is used. When the ALLUSER =1 flag is passed to the MSI from the command line, the Teams app installs under C:\Program Files (~300 MB). The app uses AppData\Local for logs and AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams for user specific configurations, caching of elements in the user interface, and so forth.

The MS Teams msi binary is available for download from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/MicrosoftTeams/msi-deployment#vdi-installation.

More details can be found at: https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/multimedia/opt-ms-teams.html

Other examples and recommendations for bulk deployment of MS Teams using Group Policy are available at: https://practical365.com/collaboration/teams/deploying-microsoft-teams-desktop-client/.

Citrix has fairly recently released the new version of HDX optimization for Microsoft Teams. Unlike Skype for Business, there are no extra components which need to be deployed on either the client or server side. The new Citrix HDX optimization for Microsoft Teams is embedded in the Citrix Workspace App (client side) and in the latest Citrix VDA servers (server side). The following article explains how the Citrix HDX optimization for MS Teams works from an architectural perspective:

Citrix HDX Optimization for Teams

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2019/05/21/citrix-hdx-optimization-for-microsoft-teams/

About The Author